Senate committee OKs Trump's national intelligence director

AP News
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Posted: Mar 09, 2017 3:57 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate intelligence committee has voted to confirm President Donald Trump's pick for national intelligence director, advancing his nomination to the Senate floor.

The committee voted 13-2 in favor of former Indiana Sen. Dan Coats to replace James Clapper, who retired at the end of the Obama administration.

Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina is the committee chairman. Burr says he's confident his former Republican colleague will help the intelligence community face a wide range of challenges. The committee's senior Democrat, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, says Coats pledged to cooperate with the committee's investigation into Russian activities during the election.

Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Ron Wyden of Oregon voted against Coats.

Wyden said he likes Coats personally, but doesn't think he has provided a firm commitment to give the committee vital information, especially about the nation's surveillance programs, it needs to oversee the intelligence community.

"That information is critical to the central premise of smart intelligence policy: Security and liberty are not mutually exclusive, and Americans deserve both," Wyden said.

Harris said that after reviewing Coats' record and past positions on issues ranging from torture to surveillance to Iran, she could not support his nomination.